14 votes

What are you reading these days?

What are you reading currently? Fiction or non-fiction or poetry, any genre, any language! Tell us what you're reading, and talk about it a bit.

16 comments

  1. [4]
    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers @0d_billie recommended this over in the aliens thread. She described it as a “cross between Firefly and Mass Effect” which is a perfect...

    The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

    @0d_billie recommended this over in the aliens thread. She described it as a “cross between Firefly and Mass Effect” which is a perfect descriptor. I could see the fingerprints of each all over this.

    I went in expecting something a little more plot-driven, but the story is instead a leisurely, meandering chain of events with the main characters. I’m still sorting out how I feel about that, because I think Chambers has a solid enough setup for her universe that something plot-driven could be VERY interesting, but also the book has a uniquely personal texture that would be compromised by something like that.

    The book is warm and relaxed in a way that other stories about space travel and aliens and intergalactic conflict aren’t. It’s very much “friends go on a space road trip”.

    I enjoyed reading it, but I also don’t know if I plan to continue the series. Chambers sets up enough in this book that I kind of want to see how things resolve, but I think that puts me back in the territory of wanting a different kind of story than the one that’s actually written.

    Even if I don’t continue the series though, I’m happy with this as a stand-alone. Thanks for the recommendation, 0d_billie!

    5 votes
    1. GreaterPorpoise
      Link Parent
      The series isn't a continuation of the same plot, each book can stand alone, it's just set in the same world! The second book is about a robot who finds work in a cafe and possibly love and the...

      The series isn't a continuation of the same plot, each book can stand alone, it's just set in the same world! The second book is about a robot who finds work in a cafe and possibly love and the third book is my favourite as it follows a human migration fleet and is a lot more thematic (about the cycle of life and death) than the first two books. The fourth is about different aliens getting stranded together following a disaster, which was the perfect pandemic read for me too.

      She also has another new series with a continuing plot (about a monk and a robot navigating a utopia while still feeling lost and disconnected from it) and a standalone novel called To Be Taught, If Fortunate, about a space travel mission being recounted in the hopes that some one back home is listening.

      She's my favourite author just because her queer hopepunk scifi is such a breath of fresh air compared to everything dark and gritty and dramatic these days. It gives me the same pleasure Ted Lasso does (without Ted Lasso's heavier mental health themes). But I understand it's definitely not for everybody or every reading mood. To me, they're progressive, thought-provoking comfort reads when life gets to be all too much.

      4 votes
    2. 0d_billie
      Link Parent
      I'm glad you enjoyed it! As you say, it's a very warm and relaxed read, which can be just what you need sometimes. I agree with what you say about the lack of a strong plot, and it's only through...

      I'm glad you enjoyed it! As you say, it's a very warm and relaxed read, which can be just what you need sometimes. I agree with what you say about the lack of a strong plot, and it's only through having a very well built world with some delightful characters that I wanted to keep reading to the end. I think that's part of the charm, and while there is a main plot, it was the general sense of optimism and positivity that I took away from the book, rather than some big epic story.

      Mild spoilers for both The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet & A Closed and Common Orbit The second book in the series (and presumably the third and fourth) doesn't follow the same cast of characters, which I found a bit of a let down to be honest. The book instead follows the rehabilitation of Lovelace as she gets used to life in a humanoid form, and this thread throws up some really interesting ideas about the nature of consciousness being moved to a different "body." From that perspective, it's a good and interesting read. But it's not as strong as the first in the series, and I felt a little bereft for not getting to spend more time with the characters in Planet. It's mainly for that reason that I haven't yet picked up the third and fourth books in the series, but they are somewhere on my "to-read" list.
      3 votes
    3. Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      I read 'Long Way' a few years ago, as part of a book club on Reddit. (At that time, there were no sequels.) I didn't like it. I didn't hate it, but it left me flat. I think I don't have the right...

      I read 'Long Way' a few years ago, as part of a book club on Reddit. (At that time, there were no sequels.)

      I didn't like it. I didn't hate it, but it left me flat. I think I don't have the right tastes for certain types of modern science fiction.

      2 votes
  2. [6]
    Bearskin
    Link
    Just finished up Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and find myself arguing with points nowadays as opposed to accepting them as whole-cloth. Next up is The Count of Monte Cristo--I've gone through...

    Just finished up Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and find myself arguing with points nowadays as opposed to accepting them as whole-cloth. Next up is The Count of Monte Cristo--I've gone through the audiobook six times, but never read the physical unabridged version before. I'll be recovering from surgery over the next two weeks and have a ridiculous amount of time to burn.

    4 votes
    1. [5]
      cfabbro
      Link Parent
      Small world. I actually just finished reading the unabridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo a few weeks ago, and quite enjoyed it. :)

      Small world. I actually just finished reading the unabridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo a few weeks ago, and quite enjoyed it. :)

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        Bearskin
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I'm a big fan of the 2002 movie, but it's missing so many pivotal sections of the book. The total absence of Caderousse, Franz d'Épinay, Haydée, and Maximilian changes the story so much....

        I'm a big fan of the 2002 movie, but it's missing so many pivotal sections of the book. The total absence of Caderousse, Franz d'Épinay, Haydée, and Maximilian changes the story so much. Gankutsuou is an anime adaptation that followed very closely to the book, despite making the Count a space vampire. There are dozens of film adaptations, and most of them add what your mentioned in your other post--Mercedes and Edmond reconcile, an epic duel settles things in the end, a long lost son is revealed... happily ever after.

        SPOILERS

        The stay of execution in Rome, Noirtier de Villefort having a Phoenix Wright moment with eye movements, Caderousse and the diamond, the entire tragedy of the Villefort family, the end of Fernand Mondego subverting the hell out of expectations with a suicide, Danglars paying about a fortune for a bite of food (and surviving). Hell, the Count being a master of disguise by assuming 8-9 different personas. It would be fantastic to find a movie or series that covers every bit of it--a multi-season Netflix series? It's my favorite book, and I desperately want to see Edmond's realization upon discovering the Villefort child on the screen.

        It seems like such an obvious gold mine, but every single version I have seen cuts most, if not all, of what I mentioned above. It touches a nerve and I could go on for hours about it.

        And now . . . farewell kindness, humanity, and gratitude! Farewell to all the feelings which expand the heart! I have been Heaven’s substitute to recompense the good— now the God of Vengeance yields to me his power to punish the wicked!

        Line of the book--right after the resolution of Pierre Morrel's debts and the return of the Pharaon. How do you film an entire movie and not let someone chew the scene with that line? Madness!

        Edit: a fair review of the anime for the curious.

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I honestly think the book is just far too eventful, and involves too many characters, to be told in a movie without making similar cuts as happened in the 2002 one (which I also am a big fan of),...

          I honestly think the book is just far too eventful, and involves too many characters, to be told in a movie without making similar cuts as happened in the 2002 one (which I also am a big fan of), since even with all those cuts it was still over 2 hours long. But I agree that as told in the book it could make a pretty great trilogy, miniseries, or full TV show.

          Speaking of which, thanks for the heads up about the anime. I am going to have to check that out now. Even though they have changed the setting dramatically, it could still be interesting. And TBH, making the count into a vampire isn't really that much of a stretch, since in the book he was compared to Lord Ruthven by Lady G, after all. ;)

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            Bearskin
            Link Parent
            The anime is the most faithful reproduction of the book I have encountered, but it only covers the 2nd half of the story. You are dropped into Albert's perspective in Rome, and the Count is...

            The anime is the most faithful reproduction of the book I have encountered, but it only covers the 2nd half of the story. You are dropped into Albert's perspective in Rome, and the Count is already firmly established from the get-go. Staying in Albert's perspective, the Count looms over everything, and you get to experience the revenge plot from the other point-of-view. It has a "love it or hate it" ending, but goes for it with an original take that hasn't been replicated 100 times. A slow-burn in the beginning, but impossible to put down once everything starts falling apart in grand fashion. 10/10, hope you dig it.

            1 vote
            1. cfabbro
              Link Parent
              Oh, sweet. Apparently Gankutsuou is on Crunchyroll, so I will be sure to check it out once I'm done with Better Call Saul, Westworld, and a few others shows I am still in the middle of watching...

              Oh, sweet. Apparently Gankutsuou is on Crunchyroll, so I will be sure to check it out once I'm done with Better Call Saul, Westworld, and a few others shows I am still in the middle of watching the new seasons for. I'll try to remember to let you know what I think of it once I do. :)

              1 vote
  3. Fiachra
    Link
    'A Psalm for the Wild-Built', it's a short Solarpunk novel and the first step in my mission to get a feel for the genre before I write one myself. I'm not too far into it, but so far it's as...

    'A Psalm for the Wild-Built', it's a short Solarpunk novel and the first step in my mission to get a feel for the genre before I write one myself. I'm not too far into it, but so far it's as wholesome and cozy as you might expect. Clearly, using a utopian political vision for the future as your setting poses some challenges to the creation of interesting conflict. The story so far (and I am still very early in the book mind you) has generated its drama through a character struggling and failing to achieve something, which doesn't require an antagonist to be interesting. This alone has been educational, since it's very different to the approach I was planning to take.

    4 votes
  4. spctrvl
    Link
    Trying to slog through Termination Shock but so far it just isn't doing it for me. Felt like that about most of Stephenson's stuff after Snow Crash though.

    Trying to slog through Termination Shock but so far it just isn't doing it for me. Felt like that about most of Stephenson's stuff after Snow Crash though.

    3 votes
  5. smoontjes
    Link
    Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies by Sclarlett Curtis. It's a collection of essays by feminists (including a lot of celebrities) about why they are feminists, how they became feminists,...

    Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies by Sclarlett Curtis.

    It's a collection of essays by feminists (including a lot of celebrities) about why they are feminists, how they became feminists, what feminism means to them, etc. It's a tough read but I highly recommend it!

    3 votes
  6. elcuello
    Link
    I'm listening to Recapture the Rapture - Rethinking God, Sex and Death in a World That's Lost its Mind and I haven't really mad up my mind about it yet. I'm only at chapter 8 so maybe it's to...

    I'm listening to Recapture the Rapture - Rethinking God, Sex and Death in a World That's Lost its Mind and I haven't really mad up my mind about it yet. I'm only at chapter 8 so maybe it's to early to say. One of my issues is it was recommend to me by someone who's judgment I don't completely trust and on one side that's good for keeping me skeptical and rational but on the other side it might be tainting my experience too much. It's fairly interesting for now.

    3 votes
  7. 0d_billie
    Link
    I finished The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson a few days ago. I haven't read a huge amount of Sanderson's material yet, although I've been picking my way slowly through the Stormlight Archive...

    I finished The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson a few days ago.
    I haven't read a huge amount of Sanderson's material yet, although I've been picking my way slowly through the Stormlight Archive series. I do really enjoy his style of writing, and his ability to conceive of unusual worlds with unique magic systems. This book was (as with the others of his that I've read) incredibly readable, very much a page-turner, and had a truly excellent climax (though not his best). I really enjoy the idea of a heist movie set in a fantasy world, which is essentially what this book is. The fun of putting a crew together with all their special abilities, and things going more and more wrong, before ultimately the reveal of it all being (more or less) part of the plan... Great fun, and especially interesting to see it pulled off in written form!
    I didn't find any of the characters to be particularly engaging, however. They were all well written, and felt believable, but I just didn't fall in love with any of them in the way that I often do with books. And that has made me think that Sanderson's works (at least as far as I have consumed and enjoyed them) do seem to be more about the main plot and being desperate to know what happens next, as opposed to having characters that you just want to spend time with. I was never excited to spend a chapter with Kelsier, in the times when the book shifted to his point of view, despite him being a pretty awesome jedi/magician/mage/sorcerer. Sazed was an interesting guy to bring in for a bit of a lore dump, and as a driver of the plot here and there. Vin was a good character, and her personal arc of overcoming trauma was engaging and it was exciting to see her become a badass metal-mage. But at no point was I truly invested in spending time with these characters so much as the world that they were in, and the plot that they found themselves caught up in.

    I've just started reading Yes, You Are Trans Enough by Mia Violet after having it recommended by a few trans friends, and ahead of coming out to my family. It's a good read so far, and honestly the half-chapter I've read up to now is enough for me to recommend it to anyone who is may be questioning their gender identity, knows someone who is, or would just like to read different narratives of the transgender experience than the commonly presented one that you might already be familiar with (ie. trauma, trauma, and more trauma).

    3 votes
  8. aphoenix
    Link
    After finishing The Stand, I decided to stay on the Stephen King kick and am reading 'Salem's Lot. I don't remember much about this book, but it's familiar and very consumable.

    After finishing The Stand, I decided to stay on the Stephen King kick and am reading 'Salem's Lot. I don't remember much about this book, but it's familiar and very consumable.

    2 votes